Senior Bowling Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Bowling. The concept of it is rather simple, throwing a ball down a lane to try to knock 10 pins down. 

Yet, it can be a lot more useful and popular than people might think. In the United States, about 67 million people bowl every year. 

With it being a less physically demanding sport, bowling for seniors can be a realistic option to stay active. 

What are the main benefits of senior bowling? Here is your guide. 

Exercise Benefits

This may surprise people but bowling can burn a decent amount of calories. Playing the sport can help you burn up to 300 calories per hour

This is right around the number of calories that you would burn from walking around your neighborhood at a brisk pace for the same amount of time. So, seniors would have the benefit of this while doing something that is objectively a little more fun and competitive. 

Then, there is the fact that you have to lift and throw a bowling ball every time it is your time. With this, you are essentially lifting to a 16-pound weight every time you bowl. 

Of course, the weight of the ball can vary and you may need to adjust depending on what you can handle. But, the point is it can provide a fun way for seniors to lift a weight. 

In general, bowling helps seniors find a way to stay active while not being as physically demanding as say football or basketball. It just requires you to be able to lift a bowling ball and then to walk up and down the lane. 

When you are bowling, one thing someone of any age playing, but especially seniors, should do before they start is to stretch their arms and legs. This will help loosen your muscles and give you more flexibility as you are bowling. 

Bowling Ball Weight

For seniors, this may be an issue, because some may not be able to use the bowling ball weight that they did when they were younger. In general, the rule of thumb for choosing a weight for your bowling ball is to go with one that is about 10% of your body weight. 

Since the highest weight is usually 16 pounds, any person that weighs over 160 pounds should look towards a 16-pound ball. However, if you weigh say 89 pounds, then you should go with an 8-pound ball. 

If you are worried about straining yourself or someone who thinks their muscles have gotten too weak at an older age, you should consider moving down to a ball that is about two pounds or so lighter than you would normally use. 


Something that seniors, in particular, can wear if you are concerned about hurting yourself bowling is support. These can be worn in places such as your wrist, your knee, or even your back. 

Having wrist support should help you get a better grip on your bowling ball and be less likely to have an incorrect form that can make your body vulnerable. 

As for knee and back support, this is more about managing weight and pain. A knee support can help take away the pain that you might normally experience in that area of your body and move it to a less damaged part of your body. 

As for back support, this is more about weight management but it can be used for pain management too. If you have back problems, this helps take pressure off of your lower back and your spine when it comes to holding or throwing a bowling ball. 

Form and Posture

Having the right form and posture will help make bowling for senior citizens a much more positive experience. Before you do anything, you need to set yourself up with the bowling ball. 

To do this, you need to hold it from the bottom with your non-throwing hand. Then, you insert your fingers into the three holes. 

Next, you will figure out what part of the lane you want to stand at to take your best shot, with the boards and markers on the lane being your guide. 

When you are set, you will want to have a slight bend in your knees to keep yourself balanced and with less pressure on one part of the body. Then, start to take your steps up. Most veteran bowlers use either three steps or five steps to do this. 

When it comes to releasing the ball, you will want to do so on whatever side of your body that you use to throw the ball. Meaning, if you are right-handed, put the ball on the right side of your body. 

If you cannot handle the weight of a bowling ball as well, you may want to consider rolling the bowling ball down the lane rather than throwing it with a wide arch. 

Social and Mental Benefits

The social benefits for seniors are obvious, especially if the seniors are retired. This is the fact that they have a fun activity they can participate in with their friends, and have a chance to make new friends with an excuse to get out of the house. 

Mentally, some people might be looking for purpose after retirement and at the last chapter of their lives. Bowling can help someone achieve this, giving them an activity that they can work on improving at and having a reason to go out for exercise and fun once a week. 

Also, bowling is a sport that relies on numbers and math for scores. So, if you are worried that you might have early signs of dementia, that aspect may help manage it. 

Participate in Senior Bowling

Bowling is not just for kids and young adults. Senior bowling is a very real thing with leagues dedicated to it across the country. 

With all of the benefits above, there is no reason not to sign up if you are a senior. 

Do you need some bowling equipment to get started? Contact us for a quote today! 

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